Higher channels

December 3, 1999

John Davies scans the schedules (all times pm unless stated).

Pick of the week Two kinds of dome are covered by two kinds of programme on BBC2 this week.

In Renaissance Secrets (Tuesday 7.30), the mystery of how Brunelleschi designed his famous dome for Florence cathedral is discussed. Italian architect Massimo Ricci's theory is aired, but no conclusion is reached. No architect is mentioned in part one of The Dome: Trouble at the Big Top (Thursday 9.30), a new series about the construction of Greenwich's Millennium Dome: typically for these days, the emphasis is on a cabinet minister (Peter Mandelson) and a chief executive (Jennie Page). Still, it sheds some light on the way things work in Britain (or rather London) today.

SATURDAY December 4 Prefabs and Palaces (2.00 Discovery Home and Leisure, also Sunday 2.00). Maxwell Hutchinson on the "esoteric past" of British architecture.

Timewatch: A Very British Mutiny (8.05 BBC2). Documentary about the Eighth Army's 1943 Salerno Mutiny, Britain's biggest wartime mutiny, featuring personal recollections and recently released trial papers.

SUNDAY December 5 Millennium Minds (4.00 C4). Social thought from the past few centuries: Alain de Botton chairs a discussion on Hobbes, Adam Smith, Rousseau, Bentham, Marx and Gandhi.

Human Rights, Human Wrongs (6.50 and 10.10 BBC2, also Mon-Wed 11.20, Thursday 10.20). Season focusing on human rights violations - from children sent to war to the treatment of dissidents.

Renaissance (7.00 BBC2). The rise of the patron and of the idea of the creative artist: the Medicis, Botticelli, Da Vinci, et al.

Oliver Twist (9.00 ITV). Alan Bleasdale's adaptation gets its teeth into the Dickens story proper, after last week's preliminaries.

The South Bank Show (11.15 ITV). Profile of Yoko Ono.

MONDAY December 6 Millennium (7.10 BBC2). The 18th century.

University Challenge (8.00 BBC2). Leeds University versus Christ Church, Oxford.

Universe (9.00 C4)."Alien Life": Nasa scientists and others on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Other Earth-like planets may be too far away for useful communication - but suppose there are bacteria on Jupiter's moons? Last in series.

TUESDAY December 7 Rare Books, Rare People (9.30am R4). Bookdealer Rick Gekoski on the people behind some great books, beginning with T. S. Eliot's Poems, 1919 - hand-printed by Virginia Woolf.

Renaissance Secrets (7.30 BBC2). See pick of the week.

Doom Watch (9.00 C5). Back in 1970, the BBC1 drama series Doomwatch helped raise popular awareness of ecological problems. Can Channel 5's update of the concept have a similar impact? Unlikely.

WEDNESDAY December 8 Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Criminologist Nils Christie (author of Crime Control as Industry) talks to Laurie Taylor.

Night Waves (9.30 R3). Including an interview with Stanley Fish on his new book.

THURSDAY December 9 The Material World (4.30 R4). What science can learn from the lake that lies beneath the Antarctic ice sheet.

Analysis (8.30 R4). Felipe Fern ndez-Armesto, author of Millennium, ponders the limits to tolerance in a liberal democracy.

The Dome (9.30 BBC2). See pick of the week.

Night Waves (10.00 R3). On Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project - said to be one of the great cultural studies of the century.

Email: Davieses@aol.com. For a fuller guide, visit the THES website at www.thesis.co.uk

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